Election Signs and Voter Turnout
Billy Prater, 27, adjusts a Donald Trump sign on his fence in Beech Creek, W.Va., in Mingo County on April 28, 2016. Laid off from the mines, he had been out of work for more than a year. Now he works for the railroad, but the major customer is the collapsing coal industry so his work is unsteady. He was a registered Democrat from a family of diehard Democrats. But when he hung the Trump sign, his neighbors started calling and sending him messages, asking where he got it and how to get their own. “Everybody on this creek wants one,” he said. “He’s honest. He says thing that he probably shouldn’t say. We respect that, because it means he’s not buttering us up.” (AP Photo/Claire Galofaro)
The 2016 Presidential Election is coming up, and voters are showing their support through commercials, bumper stickers, and most commonly, yard signs.
The voter effect when it comes to election yard signs has a one percent turn rate.
Although residents still post political yard signs showing their support, there are more effective ways to turn votes.
“What’s more effective in increasing turn out is actually, and particularly in a state like Oklahoma, door to door campaigning … That seems to be most effective,” said Jan Hardt, Professor of Political Science.
Professor Hardt said that there are specific ways to get votes in Oklahoma because people differ from state to state, and it can be difficult to figure this strategy out.
“The other thing that seems to be very effective in a state like Oklahoma is holding up a sign in the middle of a street corner and saying ‘Vote for me’ during the election,” Hardt said.
There was an example given by Hardt where a candidate stood in the rain holding his own election sign in the rain telling passerbys to vote for him. That specific candidate won the election by five percent.
Commercials also play a role in elections. There are positive and negative commercials where candidates talk about and uplift themselves while telling people to vote for them.
There are also commercials that tell people not to vote for their opposing candidates and then list reasons why, ending them by stating their names and approving the commercials’ messages.
“Commercials tend to be a mixed bad. A lot of people say ‘Well I don’t pay attention because all commercials are negative,” said Hardt. “What studies have actually found is that the negative commercials actually do more to increase turnout than to decrease turnout.”
Whether it is commercials, yard signs or politicians standing of the side of the street, all of these tactics add some effect on voters and their decisions. The most effective tactic in Oklahoma remains door to door campaigning and word of mouth by the candidate and his or her party.
The most important thing to remember, according to Hardt, is to go out and exercise your right to vote.
“One thing that I can say, whether you’re democrat, republican or independent, make sure to go out and vote, because November 8 there are seven state questions on the ballot, five of which will change the Oklahoma Constitution,” said Hardt. “Even if you aren’t excited about certain political candidates, think about lower races and state legislative races.”